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Royals head into playoffs on high note

Woodbury senior David Alston goes in for a layup in the second half in the Royals 64-43 win over visiting Stillwater Friday night. John Molene / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 3
Woodbury senior guard DJ Fleming makes a no look pass to teammate David Alston for a layup in the second half against visiting Stillwater Friday. Fleming led the Royals with 23 points. John Molene / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 3
Michael Jones of the Woodbury Royals passes to a teammate from under the basket in the second half against Stillwater. Jones scored 15 points in Woodbury's 64-43 victory. John Molene / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 3

WOODBURY — Woodbury sent its five-man strong Class of 2018 seniors out in style Friday night, ending the regular season with a 64-43 rout of visiting Stillwater.

"This is a special group," said Woodbury coach Kent Getzlaff. "We start five seniors. We have all year. They're a very close group and they wanted to really end on a high note and they've been talking about it for a couple of days. They wanted to go out in a good way. So they did do almost everything really well tonight."

Woodbury's seniors have led the Royals to a 40-8 record, 59 wins and a pair of Suburban East Conference titles the last three seasons.

"This is a super special group of great kids," Getzlaff added. "They've accomplished so much on the floor ... It's a credit to how hard these guys have worked and what kind of kids they are."

The Royals broke out to a 20-8 lead and led by 27 points at the half with a 37-10 advantage. Woodbury was in control from start to finish.

Senior guard DJ Fleming led Woodbury offensively with 23 points, Michael Jones added 15.

"Defensively we did great and that's basically what we have to do in the playoffs because we don't score a lot as a team," Fleming said. "Half-court defense is really our main thing. We're going to have to lock down and I think we did that. Obviously they didn't score a lot."

Fleming, Jones, Raysean Treadwell, David Alston and Ryan Christiansen got to take a collective senior bow as Woodbury coach Kent Getzlaff pulled the quintet as a group with about two minutes to play.

Woodbury ended the regular season at 12-4 in the Suburban East Conference and 15-11 overall. The Royals finished third in the conference behind top-ranked Cretin-Derham Hall (16-0) and fifth-ranked East Ridge (13-3).

Stillwater ended its regular season at 3-13 in the conference and 4-22 on the season.

The win snapped a two-game losing streak by the Royals and they made it look easy.

"I was happy with our half-court defense in the first half," Getzlaff said. "I think they had two or three field goals and a couple of free throws. It's the key for us. It's a very fine line. Defensively if we struggle we're going to lose. And if we play really good half-court defense then we can be difficult to beat. We made that a huge priority coming into this game."

The Royals held Stillwater to just three baskets in a dominant defensive effort in the first half. Offensively the Royals got good passing and good looks at the basket the entire game.

"We moved the ball really well tonight," Fleming said. "That's also a key because we've had problems in the past where's we've just been standing and not moving and we've worked on when Michael gets the ball in the low post just spacing out and getting open as a shooter and I was able to get a couple shots from Michael tonight."

Woodbury's Fleming (11 points) and Jones (13 points) each outscored the Ponies in the opening half.

"I think we really locked down defensively," Jones said. "I think they only had 10 in the first half. We've really been priding ourselves on our half-court defense and getting back to things that are going to get us far in the playoffs and I think we really played some good defense."

Third-seeded Woodbury will host sixth-seeded White Bear Lake (15-11) in a first-round Section 4AAAA game Wednesday, starting at 7 p.m.